Society

Hayne’s failure to tackle bank structure means that in a decade or so another treasurer will have to call another royal commission

Every 10 to 15 years it’s the same. Ever since financial deregulation in the 1980s we’ve had a finance industry scandal followed by an inquiry, a quick fix, and a declaration that it shouldn’t happen again. Authors: The Conversation In the early 1990s there were royal commissions into the A$1.7 billion Tri-continental/ State Bank Victoria collapse, the A$3.1 billion State Bank of South Australia collapse and the WA Inc collapse which explored the interrelated activities at Rothwells bank, the A$1.8 ... Read More »

Trapped in shrinking Syria holdout, Daesh turns to human shields

BAGHOUZ: On a rooftop near the front line with the Daesh group’s collapsing caliphate in eastern Syria, a US-backed fighter and his comrades sip tea as they await orders to restart the battle. AFP Arab News The Syrian Democratic Forces halted their ground assault on Daesh’s final shreds of territory last week, saying the militants are increasingly using civilians as human shields to block the advance. In the desert hamlet of Baghouz, held mostly by the SDF, 22-year-old Mohammed Ibrahim ... Read More »

Modi has ‘nothing to offer’ to Kashmiris: separatist leader

NEW DELHI: A separatist leader in Indian-controlled Kashmir accused New Delhi on Sunday of having “nothing to offer” to the disputed territory, dismissing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit as… Sanjay Kumar Arab News “If the Indian government is really keen to reach out to the people of Kashmir it should suspend all military operations and stop celebrating the killing of young innocent people. Development does not mean anything if there is no peace and dialogue,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chief ... Read More »

Chinese fishing boat captain arrested in waters close to Japan

A Chinese fishing boat captain has been arrested in waters close to Japan, according to state media in the island nation. Liu Zhen South China Morning Post Chen Wenting, 40, was detained by the Japanese coastguard on Saturday morning on suspicion of violating Japan’s fishing rights and trying to avoid inspection, NHK reported. The incident happened on the same day China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told visiting Japanese senior deputy minister for foreign affairs Takeo Mori that 2019 was going ... Read More »

McGowan remains tight-lipped about refugee legislation despite removal of children

The government has finalised the removal of the last children from Nauru, as it battles to head off a parliamentary defeat on legislation to facilitate medical transfers from offshore. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Scott Morrison and Immigration Minister David Coleman said on Sunday: “There are now only four asylum seeker children on Nauru and they have all been approved for departure to the United States of… When parliament rose for its summer break a government filibuster had prevented amendments reaching ... Read More »

China’s research in artificial intelligence ‘far outranks’ Huawei threat, expert says

Experts are warning of the threat posed by China’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a survellience state, and say the risk of such authoritarian behaviour spreading to other parts of the world is increasing. Ian Burrows ABC While Chinese technology company Huawei is making daily headlines at the moment, Greg Austin, professor of cyber security, strategy and diplomacy at the University of New South Wales, said there were… “If I were asked which was the bigger threat from ... Read More »

Time away from Facebook may improve your wellbeing

Despite the scandals of recent years, billions of people still log on to Facebook each month to catch up with the news and see what their friends and family are up to. Christian Today But some time away from the social media platform could do us all some good, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford and NYU. The study, titled The Welfare Effects of Social Media, has found ‘small but significant improvements in wellbeing’ from giving Facebook a ... Read More »

No kids on Nauru is a milestone worth marking – but it’s hardly one for the trophy cabinet

Within days, no refugee child will be left on the island of Nauru. That this is a milestone worth marking – or even celebrating – should be a shock and a shame. Michael Koziol Brisbane Times These kids and their families had been there more than five years. Two thousand days. It had been so long that many people here in Australia finally seemed to agree enough was enough. Peter Dutton has always proclaimed – rightly – that he didn’t ... Read More »

Living inside the world’s worst economy, Venezuela

Hungry and without access to medicine, Venezuelans are suffering as a political crisis unfolds. Al Jazeera In oil-rich Venezuela, people don’t have enough to eat, infant mortality is soaring at a faster rate than in Syria, and according to the UN, some three million people have fled the country since 2015. Once Latin America’s richest nation, Venezuela and its people are suffering from the ravages of hyperinflation. On January 23, the leader of the legislature, Juan Guaido, began a push to remove ... Read More »

Was Alexander the Great Buried Alive?

A controversial new theory has suddenly gotten a lot of press. Candida Moss Daily Beast As far as heroes and mighty leaders go, Alexander the Great is sure to be in anyone’s top three. He succeeded his father Philip II of Macedonia at the tender age of 20 and from there had blisteringly-fast success as he aimed to expand his empire to the “ends of the world and the… He was enormously successful, advancing as far east as India before ... Read More »

Bronze baby Buddha found off WA’s north coast could be Ming treasure

Two West Australian men, while exploring the state’s north coast with a metal detector, have discovered a bronze Buddha figurine that could date back to the early Ming Dynasty. Emma Young WAtoday If authenticated, the infant Buddha will be of high value and potentially historically significant if its arrival on the coast could be shown to predate the first European visits to Australia’s western coast. Leon Deschamps and Shayne Thomson together run Finn Films, a company specialising in aquatic filming ... Read More »

‘This is about saving capitalism’: the Dutch historian who savaged Davos elite

Rutger Bregman never intended to take billionaires to task over tax at World Economic Forum Larry Elliott The Guardian Rutger Bregman had not really intended to stick it to the global elite. He never meant to have a pop at the idea that inequality could be solved by philanthropy or inviting Bono to Davos. But when the Dutch historian decided to go off-piste at the World Economic Forum and tell the assembled billionaires they should stop avoiding paying tax, he became an ... Read More »

Leonardo da Vinci: 500 years after his death his genius shines as bright as ever

Old masters rarely come more venerable (and venerated) and instantly recognisable than Leonardo da Vinci. Gabriele Neher The Conversation But to think of Leonardo as an Old Master – with all its connotations of being staid, traditional, somehow old-fashioned and boring – is to do this extraordinary man a grave injustice. There is nothing stale or predictable about a man whose personal foibles irritated and frustrated contemporaries as much as his brilliance and creativity dazzled and awed them. One thing ... Read More »

Mexico’s New Neutrality in the Venezuela Crisis

Bucking the U.S. and several large and influential Latin American states, Mexico has not recognised Juan Guaidó’s claim on Venezuela’s presidency, and has instead argued for negotiations to end the country’s crisis. As Crisis Group’s Senior Mexico Analyst Falko Ernst explains, this position is rooted in a new Mexican foreign policy doctrine. What is Mexico’s position on the fast-developing events in Venezuela? Mexico has declined to recognise Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, and has adopted a… Mexico’s New ... Read More »

Behrouz Boochani’s literary prize acceptance speech – full transcript

Asylum speaker accepts $125,000 Victorian premier’s literary prize via video from Manus Island, where he has been held for six years Behrouz Boochani The Guardian This is a transcript of the speech Behrouz Boochani delivered via video link on 31 January 2019 Behrouz Boochani wins Australia’s richest literary prize When I arrived at Christmas Island six years ago, an immigration official called me into the office and told me that they were going to exile me to Manus Island, a ... Read More »

Surge in rough sleepers prompts call for more action to tackle crisis

Call for action also prompted by record number of families living in overcrowded homes across England Patrick Butler and Robert Booth The Guardian Campaigners have called for renewed action to tackle Britain’s housing crisis after official figures indicated a surge in rough sleeping in England’s cities, coupled with record number of families living in overcrowded homes. Charities said welfare cuts, soaring rents and shortages of affordable homes were behind steep rises in street sleeping in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. There were 1,283 ... Read More »